Standardizing only makes sense for types of projects that are repeated often and would be more valuable if they were done the same way each time.
Doing something the same way each time has two advantages — the first is efficiency, since the problem doesn’t have to be re-solved each time, and the second is consistency.
If something doesn’t come up often, efficiency isn’t an issue, since any attempt at standardization is going to be based on too few data points (as they don’t occur often) and probably take longer than addressing the projects one at a time. And if it’s not going to be seen in the context of other examples of the same kind of project, consistency isn’t an issue either.
That means these projects are excellent opportunities for designers to do what they do best — interpret the brand. If given the right resources, they can be opportunities to stretch the boundaries of the brand, to help it grow and evolve. Embrace them.
This article from the Harvard Business Review has been making the rounds on twitter lately, as designers and other “creatives” rightly take offense to it’s demeaning tone and off-base “tips” on managing creative employees. I thought I’d take the opportunity to translate their 7 rules into actual advice that won’t send designers (and employees in general) running from your team:
HBR: Spoil them and let them fail.
TRANSLATION: Give employees a safe environment for creative risk-taking.
HBR: Surround them by semi-boring people.
TRANSLATION: Create collaborative, multidisciplinary teams to tackle hard problems.
HBR: Only involve them in meaningful work.
TRANSLATION: Make sure teams understand the company’s strategy and goals and how their projects fit in.
HBR: Don’t pressure them.
TRANSLATION: Create a flexible work environment that lets employees work in ways that they find most creative and productive.
HBR: Pay them poorly.
TRANSLATION: There’s nothing good here. Pay all employees what they’re worth, creative or otherwise.
HBR: Surprise them.
TRANSLATION: see #4.
HBR: Make them feel important.
TRANSLATION: Show them that you and the company value their contributions.